I called an ethernet port “the internet hole” at my first job – now I’m a Product Manager
Kristine Alipio is a Product Manager at Fooda. She dove headfirst into the startup life after graduating from the University of Iowa. You can find her by listening for her laugh, or sneaking a bite of David Bremner’s lunch.
As I approach my four-year Foodaversary this Cinco De Mayo, I find myself reflecting on how I found myself here. Growing up, I always assumed that the only track to a “tech job” was studying Computer Science in college, and then becoming a Software Engineer. Since I was the person always being shushed in class, I knew I needed to interact with people face to face instead of fingertip to fingertip (Do people say that? Let’s just say yes and move on). I ended up graduating with a Bachelors degree in Psychology.
My first job out of college was working as a Customer Service rep at a startup in Chicago. During my first week, I had trouble getting my Wi-Fi to work. The Engineering Lead came up to me and said, “Hardwire in using the ethernet port and you should be good to go.”
His words flew over my head, but I was too nervous to ask, “a what port?” I remembered from my days of accessing the internet with a phone cord and pieced a solution together. I found the port, walked back to him, and said in front of the entire tech team, “I found the internet hole on my computer, but I don’t have that cord by my desk.”
Cut to the whole tech team slowly turning to glare at the new girl who called an ethernet port “the internet hole.”
I started to sweat. They all broke into giggles. Great way to start my first week.
But time went on, and I learned as I went. I constantly lingered around the technology team, learning as much as I could about bugs my team was finding, and how they were writing fixes with code. One of the best parts of the job was working with a Product Manager to determine which bugs were the highest priority.
After one and a half years at the startup, I ran into a former coworker who’d moved to Fooda. Curious to learn about what they were doing, we agreed to have lunch. I knew there was an opening for an Account Management position, and I felt like that was a natural next step.
My former colleague asked what I saw myself doing in three years. Knowing there was an open account manager position at Fooda, I told him that I was excited to help Fooda grow as a member of their AM team.
He smiled, and told me he remembered me hovering around the tech team, always hungry to learn more. What he said next shifted my future into a direction I never saw coming.
“I think there’s a role at Fooda that you might be interested in, but it’s not the Account Manager position. I know you’re interested in tech. Have you ever heard of manual QA?”
A few weeks later my career in tech began as a Junior Quality Assurance Engineer. My experience from my first startup served me well at Fooda. I was testing new features, trying to break anything I could to find bugs. It was excited about learning something new at work everyday.
The more I became familiar with our business and our customers, the more I was able to have more of a say as to how our new features worked. I also started working with designers to determine workflows, and how new features looked and felt. I constantly worked with various departments to figure out where our software was lacking, and what we could build to help make everyone’s job easier.
Being able to work and collaborate with all of Fooda’s various teams continues to be one of my favorite parts of the job!
I’ve learned more each year, and each year I find myself with new responsibilities and new titles. My journey to becoming a Product Manager proves that anyone can find a career in technology no matter their background.
During my time here, I’ve helped introduce a new system to help track the financials of our Popup business, the ability to generate PDF Schedules for upcoming events for our Restaurant Partners, and soon we’ll be releasing a Restaurant Portal where our Restaurant Partners can see how well their events are doing, upload pertinent documents, and much more!
Cheers to four more years! If you ever want to learn more about starting in tech, feel free to reach out! I know a great place where we can grab lunch 🙂